All sorts of wonderful things are happening in the garden and parks at this time of year, so lets get out and do some great things with the wonderful wiggly worms, flippy flappy butterflies, busy buzzy bees and all the other bugs in the garden. Have a bit of messy fun and have a great time!
Before you start, go through a few basic rules for the Outdoors to keep the little ones safe and the bugs alive!
Keep a note book and record what you find.
1. Go for a bug hunt and when you find something draw it in your note book. Or you could photograph it and stick it in. Talk about what it looks like, how many legs it has, what colour it is etc.
2. Make a wormery! Take a tall transparent plastic bottle and cut off the top. Fill with layers of soil with some small pebbles and some grass or leaves on top. Put in a dark place. Place a couple of worms into the wormery and leave. Take a look each day and see if the worms have made tunnels and left worm casts on top of the soil. Set them free after a couple of days.
3. Hide some toy bugs in a sand box and see how quickly you can find them. Count them out and group them in colours.
4. Digging in the garden can be a great activity. Take some spades and dig some holes in flower beds. Talk about how much energy you need to do the job and which parts of the body you are using. When you have a nice howl, sit back and see if any birds come along to search for worms.
5. Snail racing is fun if a grown up is nearby to ensure the safety of the snails. Find two snails, draw a chalk circle on a patio slab and place them side by side in the middle. See which crosses out of the circle first. Does cheering help?
There are allegedly one million child abductions or children going missing each year in America - that's an astonishing number! It's important to demonstrate and guide our children on safe conduct when out and about so as to keep them safe.
Here are a few tips to tell pre-school children:
Here are a few tips to remember:
Babies begin to understand rules even before their first birthday, but the ability to form and adapt rules in their mind happens only after a few years. From early on, your baby will learn to interpret when you say not to touch something but the formation of 'executive function', where a child truly begins to think, understand and analyse for themselves, develops slowly over their first five years.
Executive function is the ability to examine a situation, apply behaviour known on learned rules or experience, and then be able to refine their behaviour based on the outcome for future experiences. For example, a baby will open a cupboard and pull everything out, but it takes an older child to actively look for a packet of biscuits in the cupboard, learn how to get to them if they are out of reach and manage to obtain them. This development takes several years and isn't simply down to experience, the part of the brain that assists executive function is one of the last parts of the brain to develop.
By four years old, your toddler is more intelligent than the adult of any other species on the planet! This may seem surprising, but no other animal comes near to having the understanding or reasoning of a four year old child. Of course, in human terms, there's still an awfully long way to go, but next time your little one does something that makes you proud, just remember that they're already inside the top 0.1% of most intelligent creatures on earth!
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